Marko Prezelj Interview - Part 1
ClimbAndMore: Let’s start from the beginnings and with the traditional question: when did you start climbing and what was your inspiration? Were you inspired by books, like it often happens, or did you have other inspirations?
Marko Prezelj: I started going to the mountains with my parents and my brother. I did my first trip when I was six and a half. Our aim was something between a hill and mountain, I went there with my father and it took the whole day. I remember that I was really tired when I came back home, but happy because of this new experience. Of course it was more walking but it was the first “mountain” experience I can remember. Since then I went to the mountains with my father regularly until I was 13 or 14. Then we made one trip, it was foggy and we had to turn back, because my father couldn’t find the way up – it was an unmarked trail – but I heard that some other people were climbing. I remember hearing voices in the fog. It was the moment I noticed that my father’s experience is not enough… He was good company but not the person to stick with if I wanted to go further. Since then we didn’t go to the mountains together so often. When I was sixteen I went to a climbing club and started climbing. My first real climb was in 1982 and it can be called the real start of my climbing career. As an inspiration I read books, some articles and magazines, but I can’t say they were my main inspiration. It was just something additional…
So it was just the feeling of the mountains which inspired you, not the knowledge about achievements of other climbers.
Exactly. I was just curious. I wanted to learn and to get good company for going to the mountains. It was my primary motivation. There were some other things of course but curiosity was the main motivation.
You started to climb in the Kamnik Alps...
Yes, they are not big but climbing there can be very serious. Routes can be 500m long, but still the nature of the rock and climbing make them quite serious, comparing to some more famous mountain regions.
I know that in the early stage of your career you also climbed in Paklenica, which is now a pretty popular region among European climbers. So I’m interested what Paklenica looked like at the time.
With regard to climbing it was another world, comparing to the one you can find there nowadays. There were only few bolts, and even they weren’t super strong. What was good then, it was the social spirit of climbers who came to this place. I guess it was something like in Yosemite’s Camp 4 many years ago. We were staying together and camping on a meadow below Anica Kuk, which was still allowed for a limited time of the year. So we went climbing and every evening we would walk down for one hour to have some beer and then one hour back late in the evening or early in the morning. Then we went climbing the next morning. The climbing spirit was, I’d say, really strong. That helped me, a young boy, a lot, because I met a lot of climbers I could talk to, share time with and feel like a member of a group.
Now it’s more like a crag region.
Yeah, it feels more like a crag, but at the time it was pretty serious.